Sunday, November 21st, 2010

Dolce & Gabbana Caramel Lipstick
Dolce & Gabbana Caramel Lipstick

Have you tried Dolce & Gabbana’s Caramel?

Dolce & Gabbana Caramel Classic Cream Lipstick ($30.00 for 0.13 oz.) is a tanned nude with a subtle golden sheen. It’s semi-opaque–it can be a touch streaky–but it’s opaque in most places.  The streakiness is bothersome, if only because the majority of the range doesn’t suffer from that issue. Like other Dolce & Gabbana lip products, it is heavily rose scented.  I get an average of four hours of wear with Dolce & Gabbana’s Classic Cream Lipsticks; they’re not overly moisturizing, but I don’t find them drying.  They just… are.

At first glance, it seems like a shade that would really work for warmer skin tones. After wearing it, though, I’m not so sure. I’m not sure who this would flatter–it made my skin tone look almost green! On me, it’s probably one of the least flattering lip colors I’ve tried in recent memory. I’m actually really curious to see if anyone else has picked this up and found it to work really well (if so, please tell me what your skin tone is!).

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  • Product: 26/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: I haven’t had a lip color do such weird things to my skin tone before, so I would recommend trying it before buying it.

AVAILABILITY: Saks

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Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

MAC Marcel Wanders Lip Gloss
Lip Gloss: Aleydis, Beatrix, Gertruyd, Mary

MAC Marcel Wanders: Lip Gloss

MAC Marcel Wanders Lip Glosses ($22.00 for 0.09 oz.) include four new, exclusive, and limited edition shades: Aleydis (fuchsia), Beatrix (golden nude), Gertruyd (blackened red), and Mary (light gold).

The texture of these is extremely similar to LORAC’s 3D Multiplex Lip Gloss. It is a smooth, creamy formula that’s not thick or thin. It’s non-sticky but doesn’t disappear instantly; I’ve been wearing Beatrix for three hours now (no eating/drinking), and it’s mostly there. They do not contain quite as much shimmer as the 3D Lip Glosses, though. The formula also reminded me of MAC’s 3D Lipglasses (ha, ha) that came out eons ago. They’re smoother than Cremesheen Glass, but they have a similar look–just more pigmented.  They have a brush-type applicator.

  • Aleydis is a semi-sheer, blue-based medium fuchsia pink with icy fuchsia micro-shimmer. As far as MAC permanent dupes go, though, Extra Amps would be the closest, but a bit more blue-based. Kind of like a low voltage version of Hot House. Very similar to Revenge is Sweet, too!  Dead-ringer for Radiant Jewels/Creme Allure… (both are more pigmented).
  • Beatrix is a semi-sheer beige base with melon gold shimmer. It reminded me of a sheerer version of Strange Potion Lipglass–not quite as pink. Also similar to Girl’s Delight.
  • Gertruyd is a semi-sheer, reddened burgundy with light pink sparkle. It’s similar to Ornamental–not quite as copper, though.
  • Mary is a sheer, almost milky nude with lots of melon-gold shimmer. It’s a little less yellow than Instant Gold. It’s a little more melon and less pigmented than NARS Albatross.

The way the glosses feel as well as how they are packaged makes me lump them in with products like Dazzleglass, Cremesheen Glass, etc. For price comparison, I think it is appropriate to look at that category, too, and not Lipglass so much. (For the record, I do think that Dazzleglasses should contain more per tube–they are far under what I would expect.) Dazzleglasses are $18 for 0.06 oz., while Cremesheen Glasses are $18 for 0.09 oz. These are $22 for 0.09 oz. You are paying more, but the pricing does not seem as out-of-line as when you compare Lipglasses ($14.50 for 0.17 oz.) against them.

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  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 6/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: If you don’t mind more shimmer, you may want to consider LORAC’s 3D Lip Glosses–more product, same price.

AVAILABILITY: MAC on November 24th

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Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

MAC Sheer Mystery Powder
MAC Sheer Mystery Powder

MAC Marcel Wanders: MAC Sheer Mystery Powder

MAC Sheer Mystery Powder ($60.00 for 0.56 oz.) is described as “an ultra-fine, super sheer, and very sophisticated pressed powder … “Mysteriously” silky-soft in texture, glides on to give skin a velvety matte, slightly luminous and altogether flawless finish.”  There are only two shades available:  Light and Medium Plus.  They used to release a shade called Dark Secret, which was more appropriate for darker skin tones.

I only picked up Medium Plus, so I only have a swatch of that one, but hopefully it will be helpful enough to show you the texture and look of it.  I would recommend Light for NC/NW15s and 20s, possibly 25s if you are definitely NC/NW25.  I would recommend Medium Plus for NC/NW30s and 35s.  I think it would be too light for any shades higher than NC/NW35.

The formula itself is a very finely milled, silky smooth powder that applies incredibly sheer.  It is best used as a setting or finishing powder, because it does not offer coverage, but it will set your foundation or help to mattify skin.  It is not completely matte in finish, but it is semi-matte.  I like it, and I think it’s a good pressed powder, but it’s not the best one I’ve ever tried.  I don’t know if it’s that much better than MAC’s Blot or Select Sheer Powders, you know?  I do like that it looks very natural, and it’s practically impossible to overdo.  It doesn’t look powdery on the skin, even on drier areas of mine.

The compact itself shares the same multifaceted look as the perfume pendant, but unlike the pendant, it is made out of hard plastic, rather than metal.  It feels very lightweight when held, which makes it appropriate for traveling but less so if you want that luxury feel.  In the past, this powder has always been housed in a heavier, sturdier compact.  It will hold fingerprints like nobody’s business, though.

I know the price tag always scares people every time MAC repromotes it, but keep in mind, it comes with a refill–each pan is 0.28 oz. for a total of 0.56 oz. for your $60.  However, on that note, MAC’s Select Sheer/Pressed will set you back $22 for 0.42 oz., while the Mineralize Skinfinish Natural retails for $26 for 0.35 oz.  After perusing through a variety of pressed powders from high-end brands, it seems like 0.28 to 0.35 oz. is the norm with prices ranging from $30 to 35.  This is certainly not a steal of a deal, but it’s like you’re paying an extra $15 to 20 for the packaging and product (since it’s not available outside of the pricier compacts).

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  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: If you are light or medium in skin tone, you may find a match here.  If you have ultra dry skin, you may want to skip the powder, but for slightly dry to slightly oily skin, it should work out.

AVAILABILITY: MAC on November 24th

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Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

MAC Air of Style Scent Concentrate
MAC Air of Style Scent Concentrate

MAC Marcel Wanders: Air of Style Scent Concentrate

Air of Style ($30.00 for 0.07 fl. oz.) is a sweetened floral with a strong pull of jasmine. It has an initial strength, but it dries down to something incredibly subtle–probably too light. I’m glad it does weaken quickly, though, because it is rather cloying at first sniff. It’s not a groundbreaking scent; despite the abundance of notes, it is has a rather simple result. I have had readers in the past note that Air of Style is reminiscent of Michael Kors, but I don’t own it, so I couldn’t say for sure. I applied it two hours ago, but the majority of the scent has wafted away.

Top Notes: White pepper, dried red dates, wild peonies
Heart Notes: Tuberose, orange blossom, jasmin, ylang-ylang, orris
Bottom Notes: Touch of leather, antique woods, vetiver, amber crystals, tonka beans

The packaging is lovely. It’s a heavy, metal multifaceted pendant that hangs from a thin, black ribbon. For me, it would be too heavy to wear around my neck, but I tend to opt for very simplistic jewelry. I really enjoyed the weightiness of the pendant itself, because it feels more luxurious.  To me, this is the best packaging MAC has put the Air of Style scent in.  It was originally launched in an Italian glass vial, which while lovely, has to be stored in its box, as it will roll off your vanity.

It is rather small, as many bejeweled solid perfumes are, but inside contains more than the average ring/pendant solid perfume does. I wouldn’t say this is a value deal, but the price and quantity seem on par for MAC’s brand against higher-end brands with similar solid perfume offerings.

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  • Product: 24/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 5/5

RECOMMENDATION: If you love your sweet florals, you may enjoy this. If you prefer woodier scents, this is probably not up your alley.

AVAILABILITY: MAC on November 24th

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Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Guerlain Velours d'Or Eyeshadow Palette
Guerlain Velours d’Or Eyeshadow Palette

Guerlain Les Ors: Velours d’Or

Guerlain Velours d’Or (410) Eyeshadow Palette ($59.00 for 0.21 oz.) is a smoky palette from Guerlain’s Holiday Collection.  I picked this up when Nordstrom was having some super point thing going on (I think it was triple points…), but I’m not sure I’m sold on it!

It contains four shades: a soft coppered gold with subtle gold sparkle; medium-dark violet plu m with blue-violet micro-shimmer; charcoal-mauve with a muted violet shimmer and slight sheen; and dark black with a matte finish. Upon first glance, the charcoal-mauve looked absolutely stunning–it almost gave off a duochrome sheen! It seemed like a mix of violet, plum, gray with green and violet shimmer/sheen. It’s less interesting when swatched, as it appears a bit flat in comparison.

The golden shade has Guerlain’s signature bee embossed, while the other three shades have a raised honeycomb pattern. The patterning will disappear after a few uses, though it doesn’t just disappear at first touch. I do, however, like that these patterns utilize each shade’s colors, rather than an overlay of another color, which ultimately affects the end color result but only as long as the overlay exists.

I found the golden shade to have a frostier finish and having some kick-up, whereas the remaining three colors were very smooth and were easy to apply.  Each shade had nice pigmentation–not sheer at all–and they built up easily, as Guerlain’s eyeshadows often do.

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  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: It’s nice, but I don’t think it’s a must-have.  If these kinds of colors call to you, it’s worth checking out, but I do think there are enough dupes available that if you’re not sold on all four shades, you may want to look elsewhere.

AVAILABILITY:Nordstrom, Sephora

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Saturday, November 13th, 2010

Vincent Longo Aurelia Perfect Shine Lip Gloss
Vincent Longo Aurelia Perfect Shine Lip Gloss

A Little Shine, A Little Shimmer

Vincent Longo Aurelia Perfect Shine Lip Gloss ($22.00 for 0.24 oz.) is an ultra sheer pink-shimmered plum-tinged gloss. It does not do much to change-up the color of my lips–maybe a touch darker–but it does add a fine dusting of shimmer and soft shine. It’s a smooth, non-sticky gloss with a subtle vanilla scent. It wears two to three hours on me, which is below average for me, but it fades away evenly so reapplication is easy. Good thing you get plenty of gloss in a tube!

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  • Product: 26/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: If you love a sheer gloss and not too much shine, you may like this one.

AVAILABILITY: Vincent Longo

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